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Bureau of Land Management
For Immediate Release: Monday, February 7, 2005

Budget Handout - 366KB PDF Format or HTML Text-Only Format
Budget Fact Sheet (142KB PDF)
Celia Boddington
(202) 452-5125
Larry Benna
(202) 208-4864

President's FY 2006 Budget Request for the Bureau of Land Management
Proposes $1.75 Billion to Strengthen Management of Public Lands

WASHINGTON—The Bush Administration’s proposed Fiscal Year 2006 budget request for the Bureau of Land Management is $1.75 billion, which strongly supports reforms to strengthen management of public lands and improve agency efficiency and will enable the BLM to address its highest-priority needs and commitments. For BLM’s main operating accounts, the budget provides a net increase of $15.9 million.

“The 2006 budget request reflects BLM’s continuing commitment to carrying out its multiple-use mission and ensuring that national priorities are met,” BLM Director Kathleen Clarke said. “It will also help us work closely with citizens and communities to balance access to public lands while protecting natural and cultural resources.”

The 2006 budget proposal increases BLM’s energy and minerals programs to $117.6 million, or $9.1 million above the 2005 enacted level, through a combination of appropriated funds and additional user fees. User fees will fund this increase based on the assumption that high demand for energy leases and drilling permits will continue. The potential revenue from these fees will allow the BLM to process more drilling permits, process permits more quickly, and reduce the number of permits pending over 60 days.

The BLM is requesting an additional $1 million in FY 2006 to hire new law enforcement officers and to fund agreements with State and local agencies to protect resources, public land visitors, and Bureau employees. The BLM will direct this additional money to augment the presence of BLM’s rangers; support initiatives in the Four Corners area of Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; and investigate and prosecute traffickers of cultural and historical resources.

A $3.6 million increase in the 2006 budget allows the BLM to address the loss of sagebrush habitat and associated impacts to the sage-grouse, a Western game bird, and other sagebrush-dependent wildlife. In addition, a $12.6 million increase in Challenge Cost Share funding permits the BLM to pursue partnership opportunities for sagebrush restoration as well as management of off-highway vehicle use and noxious weeds. Out of the total requested for Challenge Cost Share, the BLM will use $3 million to fund rangeland improvements under the Secretary’s Cooperative Conservation Initiative.

The budget request also includes an increase of $1.5 million in the Public Domain Forest Management program to support forest health treatments and increased timber production. These funds, which will contribute to the goals of the President’s Healthy Forests Initiative, will also expand the BLM’s capacity for using stewardship contracts to accomplish forest health objectives more cost-efficiently and help stimulate the biomass market.

Other increases include $2.2 million more than last year’s enacted-level funding for land acquisition and $3.7 million for recreation management. On the Oregon and California Grant Lands — forested land in western Oregon managed by BLM — the budget proposes to redirect $5.7 million from the Jobs in the Woods program to forest management and resource management planning. This shift will also support additional forest health treatments and increased timber production.

BLM’s 2006 budget contains a legislative proposal to amend the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act of 1998 to redirect 70 percent of land-sale receipts to the General Treasury. Consistent with current law, the State of Nevada and local governments will receive 15 percent of the receipts from land sold in Las Vegas. Under the budget proposal, an additional 15 percent will be deposited in a special federal account to buy environmentally sensitive land in Nevada and for other Nevada conservation improvements. The budget proposal would ensure that the special account receives $160 million, or four times more money per year than lawmakers envisioned when the Act was passed.

To accommodate the increases for sagebrush conservation and restoration, recreation, and other high priorities within the overall constrained budget, the BLM’s budget reduces funding for several lower-priority programs and projects that received funding increases in 2005. Other reductions are made possible by efficiency gains. The BLM also proposes to eliminate the mandatory Range Improvement Fund but cover projects previously financed by this program through discretionary funding.

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more land — 261 million surface acres — than any other federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western States, including Alaska. The Bureau also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on the public lands.